Under a confident ride from John Velazquez, heavily favored Georgie's Angel easily won the $100,000 Schuylerville Stakes (gr. III), Saratoga's opening-day feature. The victory was trainer Todd Pletcher's fourth in the six-furlong event for juvenile fillies (VIDEO).
Sent off at 4-5, Georgie's Angel broke on top from the outside post then settled into third off a scorching pace set by 14-1 outsider Vukovar. After a first quarter in 21.38, Vukovar began to fade and Gypsy Robin, most recently seventh in Royal Ascot's Queen Mary Stakes (Eng-II), made her move. But she was no match for Georgie's Angel, who drew off in midstretch under mild encouragement from Velazquez.
The winner, owned by Sheffer Racing Stable, is now 2-for-2 after an impressive 6 1/4-length maiden win at Churchill Downs July 4. The Schuylerville brought her earnings to $95,820. Out of the Dynaformer mare Lalka, Georgie's Angel was bred in Kentucky by Scott and Carol Ricker.
She paid $3.90, $2.90, and 2.20. True Feelings returned $4.80 and $3.20 while Force de La Nature paid $2.70.
Winning owner Ronnie Sheffer said he named the filly, his first Thoroughbred, after the late George Steinbrenner, who campaigned Bellamy Road. Kelly Wietsma, president of Equisponse, encouraged Sheffer to name the filly Georgie's Baby, but, Sheffer said, "My wife is an ordained minister, and her father used to call her ‘Angel’ all the time, so we named her Georgie’s Angel as sort of a compromise. Then when she broke her maiden at Churchill Downs, it was July 4, which was George Steinbrenner’s birthday. I’m the world’s biggest Red Sox fan, too, and no one would ever have believed I would name a horse after George Steinbrenner.”
Pletcher said the race unfolded as he had hoped and that Georgie's Angel would likely next contest the Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) Sept. 4. "We ran her back a little quick off her win at Churchill, so now we have a little extra time,” he said.
Just six went to the post following three scratches, including Flashy Lassie, winner of the Debutante Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs in June. Trainer Gary Simms said he did not want to ship the filly from Louisville to Saratoga in such oppressive heat.